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‘A story of heroism and cowardice, mercy and cruelty, victory and defeat’

On September 21, Concordia hosts a special symposium and film screening to mark the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising
September 13, 2016
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By Elisabeth Faure (with Gavin Foster)


Filmmaker Bríona Nic Dhiarmada: “The 1916 Irish Rising is not only an event with historical and current ramifications, it is also a story of real men and women who participated in or witnessed epoch-making events.” Filmmaker Bríona Nic Dhiarmada: “The 1916 Irish Rising is not only an event with historical and current ramifications, it is also a story of real men and women who participated in or witnessed epoch-making events.”


History buffs and Liam Neeson fans, take note!

On Wednesday, September 21, Concordia’s School of Irish Studies, in collaboration with the University of Notre Dame’s Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, will offer an in-depth look at one of the key turning points in Irish history.

‘Reframing 1916’: History and Legacies of the Easter Rising will comprise a day of public events to mark the 100th anniversary of Ireland’s famed 1916 Easter Rising.


Irish history symposium

The Rising, during which a small group of rebels challenged the might of the British Empire, was a historic moment in the midst of the First World War. Gavin Foster, an associate professor of modern Irish history at Concordia and the event’s organizer notes, “Although the rebels suffered initial defeat, they set into motion a revolutionary process that ultimately produced an independent Ireland.”

The day’s events include a morning symposium featuring Irish historian and author Brian Hanley, plus speakers and panelists representing Irish Studies from both Concordia and Notre Dame.


Free documentary screening

The main event is a free public showing of the landmark documentary, 1916: The Irish Rebellion, followed by a panel discussion with the film’s writer and producer, Notre Dame professor Bríona Nic Dhiarmada.

“We aimed to present this pivotal historical event to a broad audience in an accessible manner that is both serious and informative, but also highly visual and evocative,” says Nic Dhiarmada, who will be joined on the panel by other experts.

“The 1916 Irish Rising is not only an event with historical and current ramifications, it is also a story of real men and women who participated in or witnessed epoch-making events. This is a specific story, but one with universal echoes. It is a story of heroism and of cowardice, of mercy and of cruelty, of victory and of defeat.”

In a centenary year marked by hundreds of Easter Rising commemorations, conferences, publications and other initiatives in Ireland and throughout the worldwide Irish Diaspora, the feature-length film stands out for its rare footage of the uprising, and the large cast of researchers and archivists who were interviewed.

An ambitious effort to present the Rising in an accessible and compelling way, the documentary also critically reconsiders the event’s historical significance for Ireland and beyond.

One of Ireland’s most famous sons, Liam Neeson, narrates the film. In an interview with The Irish Independent, he praised the project’s success at finding "footage that's quite phenomenal, and information that's quite phenomenal. There are images there that really took my breath away because I had never seen them."

Screening the widely acclaimed big-budget production represents a coup for Concordia. The university is the only Canadian stop in the film’s current international tour, which includes screenings not only in the U.S., UK. and Ireland, but also in France, Hungary, Estonia, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, India and Argentina.

“It’s fitting that Concordia and Notre Dame, the premier centres of Irish Studies in Canada and in the U.S. respectively, are working together to remember and reconsider the Easter Rising,” Foster observes.

“The goal of Reframing 1916 is to capture the imagination of the wider Concordia community and Montrealers of all backgrounds, while promoting rigorous debate and discussion of this pivotal event’s complex history and legacies.”


The symposium, ‘Reframing 1916’: History and Legacies of the Easter Rising, runs from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 21, in Room H-1001.01 of the Henry F. Hall Building (1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.) on Concordia’s Sir George Williams Campus.

The film screening of 1916: The Irish Rebellion and panel discussion runs later that evening from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the D.B. Clarke Theatre, located in the Henry F. Hall Building.

Both the symposium and the film screening are free and open to the public.

 



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